Roman art was characterized by the following:
- Very large-scale creations
- Events of a historical nature were depicted as were mythical scenes
- Every work of art told a tale
- Paintings were created by working on fresh plaster -- otherwise known as fresco painting.
- Statues were made of marble
- Mosaics appear most everywhere
In terms of style, when Rome conquered Greece, they "adopted" and "borrowed" their artistic concepts - thus continuing the tradition of cultural greatness. By this time, people were in the habit of collecting art and placing it in their villas so it was best not to rock the boat - so to speak.
Generally speaking, Roman artworks (specifically those works which are now considered to have been the first civic sculptures) were created to glorify those in charge. It was thought that the best way to do this was to make the art big --- really big. And so, arches, buildings and statues (eight and a half foot tall busts were not uncommon), dwarfed most everything around them. Another interesting aspect of the art of Rome is that it depicted people as they really were. After years of "faking it", portraits were crafted to look like the people they represented rather than idealized versions of the same. What a concept.
- Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius
Roman Art (The Yale University Press Pelican History of Art)
Image: Replica statue of Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Photo by: Radomil 28.09.2004
by Andrea Mulder-Slater